Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The yarn store.

Yesterday I popped over to my local yarn store, Natural Stitches. I was picking up some gifts and it was the logical place to go. Plus I like it there.

In the past - heck, even now - I feel rather surly about a certain type of store. You know, the ones that act like they're doing you a favor to take your money and sell you things? Yeah. And in my experience, most yarn stores are like that. I've actually been told to not touch the yarn before. No joke. So, well, let's just say that I feel no obligation to shop locally and no guilt about spending my money over the internet (on yarn or anything else, for that matter).

Natural Stitches? They do it right. They know that these days, to compete with on-line retailers, they have to offer a COMMUNITY. And they do.

I get in there every six weeks at most. I'm not a frequent customer; I just have too much yarn to knit up already to be in there shopping regularly. As often as not, people greet me or my kid by name. They say hi. They ask if I need help and sound like they actually care about the answer. They CHAT, and are actually fun to hang out with. They do classes and knit-nights and spinning night (need to get there for that) and all that good stuff. Plus the selection is amazing. They've got an amazing variety of yarns and even spinning fibers crammed into an average-sized store.

You know how in movies and on TV, a miracle happens and this beam of sun shines down and a choir of angels goes "aaaaaaaaaah!" in some octave-with-an-open-fifth sort of chord? I feel much the same way every time I visit when I see this:

Every color of Cascade 220 available on the market. In one handy spot.

So, if you're ever in Pittsburgh, let me know. We'll go fondle some yarn.


To get to Natural Stitches from where we live, you drive through one of the older neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, including the house that is now The Frick, bought around 1881 (can't find info on when it was built) by Henry Clay Frick, industrialist robber baron scumbag. Many of the houses in the area are of about the same age, and there's a fire station from the same era that's really neat, all along that street. About five blocks up is a similar house, four or five stories, brick, really wonderfully preserved and cared for, still a private residence as far as I can tell.

Every time I drive past, I think whoever painted it red should be drawn and quartered.


Not much else going on. Trying to do a quick spin as a gift, but since BOTH hands are killing me due to the weather, I'm not doing much of anything quickly right now. Still knitting on the Zauberball Shrug Thingie.

Looks like we get into the house - OUR house! - July 6. Then it's officially ours. All our stuff from South Carolina is scheduled to be delivered July 15. After that I don't think the husbeast or I will do much of anything but wallow for the rest of the summer. I intend to lay on the couch for at least a month. The Goober can run around the yard if she likes. I don't intend to even start the gardening (digging beds and other lunacy) until the weather cools off in late fall. So, about one month left of Hell Year.

None too soon.


NeedleTart said...

If you go to the Frick there is a gift shop the Goob might like. It is in the old "playroom" and they have a window in the floor (at least that's what I remember)that shows the old bowling lanes. There's also a nice garden with a tea room, the original house (tours cost, but there's a AAA discount) and a small museum. Enjoy!

JelliDonut said...

If I'm ever in Pittsburg, I'll take you up on the fondling. Enjoy your new house!

Amy said...

I like the store too but only get there about once a year when I am visiting Pgh. If you haven't already, you need to read An American Childhood, Annie Dillard's memoir. She grew up right near where you were driving. Many of the places in the book still exist and can be figured out. I've read it about a million times.

Amy Lane said...

OMG-- I LOVE Pennsylvania! 'The Frick'--I even like the color!

Anyway, that's an AMAZING wall o'Cascade--and I think you'd like my LYS. Lots of handpaints (not nearly as big a selection as your Cascade though) and THE nicest people!

It's so nice when you feel a community, isn't it?

Rose Red said...

OMG look at all that c220! SO ENVIOUS!

Louiz said...

Love that wall of Cascade!

Very red house, yes.

Will keep my fingers crossed for you on both the 6th and the 15th July.

Donna Lee said...

That is one amazing wall of yarn. I like the photo because it shows the colors moving down the wall. Very visually enticing.

And I like the red house. I know, old houses should be treated with respect but that is so eye catching.

amy said...

Oooh, that wall of Cascade 220 is a very compelling reason to visit Pittsburgh! I don't often visit my LYSs (how DO you pluralize that abbreviation?!) for the same reasons as you, but when I do, I go to the ones that know me by name. Six years later, I still haven't gone back to the one where the woman sneered at me when I walked through the door with a 2yo.

Around here there are rules for painting old houses. We have some rather, um, flamboyantly painted Victorians in the cities, because they are painted using traditional Victorian color schemes. Apparently those Victorians went a little nuts on their houses.

Anonymous said...

Kenney is doing a lot of racing in PA this year. Is the new house in The Pitt area? If so, I'll let you know when we're going to be there. Maybe we can meet up.

I love the yarn all in order. Our yarn store is very chaotic and stuff is EVERYWHERE and I hate it. They're rude, too, and they sell me the wrong stuff, like needles I don't need (just put them in the bag for me) and then they won't take them back. ugh.

I can't wait to see new pics of the house when you get in!!

Trish J.

The Vermilion Sparrow said...

There are 2 local yarn shops within a reasonable distance of my house. One is small, has a limited and very traditional yarn selection, but is run by the sweetest little old ladies. It's always a pleasure to shop there, but they don't have much beyond Encore and Cascade 220.

The other is larger, with all the trendy yarns, books, beads, the whole nine yards. Everything you might want and then some. But most of the staff are downright surly, at least towards me. From what I've seen, they're very nice to you if you're thin and come in dressed in smart business casual like you just stepped out of a cleaning-products commercial (what is up with that, by the way?). I hate shopping there but they do have good prices, and I've bought things there in blends I never would have considered without being able to feel them first.

Oh well.

choperena said...

MUST VISIT PGH! I've only ever gone to move a friend, or to the airport. Hmmmm... I don't need more yarn >.<

Barbara said...

choperena, I don't need more yarn either but that wall o'Cascade has me panting and salivating. Now, if only I lived closer to Pigsbird, I'd even help unpack boxes of books for a trip down that aisle.

Sorry, Samurai, I like the red house too.

You'll be wallowing in your new house before you know it. Can't wait to see the pictures of the Goob in her own big yard.

LisaBe said...

how awesome! i live very near you, i think, judging from the ride you take. i'm in regent square, and i drive up penn avenue to get to the shop all the time (well, except while the construction for the street in front of bakery square is this intense--i take different routes now). i feel the same way about the shop :)

lunch at the frick cafe is AWESOME, btw, if you've never had it. you'll need reservations, but it's gorgeous and delicious and the service is terrific. also, i had no idea annie dillard grew up in the neighborhood! i'll have to go read some of her stuff.

Kris / PirateFoxy said...

The Science Museum downtown is pretty awesome for kids, too - good range of stuff for all ages, so long as your kids are a bit into the whole science thing.

Also, I'm pretty sure that at some point that red house you're talking about? Was some shade of hot pink. If it's the one I'm thinking of anyway. It was very... eye catching.

(PirateFoxy on ravelry, also fond of Natural Stitches. :) )

NJ said...

Sounds like a terrific yarnstore. I'm a sucker for hearing people call me by name. I've been going to a pilates/yoga studio for a year now and they were pretty quick to call me by name. Even the mother of the owner. I think "hell" how does she know my name. But with the amount of money I'm spending their I want them to call me by name and shower me with praise which they are doing.

I kind of like that huge red place.

Lee said...

Congrats on the house, I hope you'll all be very happy there. It looks like a happy kind of place, doesn't it? I can see the Goob in that marvelous yard.
You're right about the red. Red's my favorite but 'that' is a sin.